July 7, 2016, 7:11 pm
After being drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers 25th in the NBA Draft, Brice Johnson has gotten off to a promising start in the Summer league, with averages of 19.3 points, 2.3 boards in his first three games. He has showcased a polished skill set and has been one of the Summer’s most productive players, but does he have what it takes to contribute long term?
Johnson was considered a steal on draft day by many, one of the best players in college basketball years in his fourth season at North Carolina, and the Clippers are hoping to rely on him for consistent minutes as a rotational player.
His play thus far should make them confident, because he’s shown a few very reassuring traits early on.
Johnson’s ability to rebound and his ability to fill lanes in transition are probably his biggest strengths as a prospect, and those qualities have been present throughout his introduction to professional play. He’s been getting up and down the floor, fighting for lose balls and 50/50 rebounds and finishing in transition.
If it all translates to the NBA level, his athleticism and energy might keep the Clippers bench from experiencing the drop off it has in the past behind Blake Griffin.
Johnson’s mid range game has looked fantastic thus far, and looks like it will serve him well as a face-up/pick-and-pop power forward. He has the quickness and basketball IQ to find his spots, and so far he’s been knocking down the shots with great efficiency. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him extend his range beyond the three point line given his confidence in catch and shoot situations. His overall trajectory from a raw 18-year old shooting 56 percent from the line to 78 percent four years later is impressive.
It will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers manages minutes at the power forward and center behind Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. The Clippers like to play fast, so it’s not crazy to assume that Brice Johnson will be called upon for 20-25 minutes per game right out of the gate at both PF and C. He’s got a lot to prove, but he’s also got a lot going for him. His style of play should fit perfectly into the Clippers’ transition-heavy game plan.
At the college level, Johnson showed a versatile offensive arsenal that allowed him to score virtually at will from 10 feet and in. With a powerful frame, great ups and a soft touch he should be able to hit the ground running, but sometimes prospects just aren’t able to adjust to the speed and physicality of the pro game. Look for him to continue display his combination of offense, rebounding and athleticism in Summer League en route to earning a spot in the Clippers rotation. The question is whether or not he will be able to score consistently on NBA defenders. The answer to that question will determine whether or not he is a productive role player for this team, or if the Clippers will be forced to look elsewhere for a backup big man.
January 29, 2020, 12:22 amJaylen BrownSG, Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown had a strong performance on Tuesday with 25 points (10-of-16 FGs), three rebounds, five assists, one block and four 3-pointers in 41 minutes in a 109-101 win over the Heat.
Brown hasn't been quite as valuable lately as he was earlier in the season, but it may not be tough to rectify. His shooting percentages have each fluctuated throughout his season (and his career) and one would expect them to settle at some point. Also, if he could ever get his block numbers up, which doesn't seem unrealistic, Brown could move into early-round territory.
January 29, 2020, 12:11 amGordon HaywardSF, Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward had an efficient night on Tuesday, shooting 10-for-14 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line on his way to a line of 29 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 38 minutes vs. the Heat.
Hayward was great in this one. His drafters are getting a great return on their investment, seeing as Hayward sits just inside the top-50 for the season. Look for more of the same as the second half rolls on.
January 29, 2020, 12:03 amJA MorantPG, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant was great again in a 104-96 home win over the Nuggets on Tuesday, going for 14 points (6-of-11 FGs), six rebounds, seven assists and four steals in 30 minutes.
For as exciting as Morant and the Grizzlies have been of late, he may not be as great in fantasy as most would expect. Morant's assist numbers are excellent and his steals and field goal percentage are great, but that's really where the impressive stats end. He's fun to watch, but if you've got him, there's a great chance you can deal him for more than he's actually worth right now.
January 28, 2020, 11:56 pmJonas ValanciunasC, Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas posted a big double-double on Tuesday vs. the Nuggets with 23 points (11-of-19 shooting), 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 34 minutes.
Valanciunas has crept into the top-40 for the past month but he still has spots where he can easily improve. He's seen a dip in free throw percentage recently that should get corrected. He was only outscored by one Grizzly, Dillon Brooks, who had 24 points, one rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one triple in 33 minutes in this game.
January 28, 2020, 11:46 pmJaren Jackson Jr.PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. threw a block party on Tuesday with seven rejections in a win over the Nuggets, adding 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, two rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes.
Jackson's blocks have been trending up for quite a while now, putting him near the top-30 for the last month. He still has plenty of room for improvement, but for the month, the blocks are elite (2.4 per game), and the threes are great too (2.9 per game).
January 28, 2020, 11:35 pmDavis BertansF, Washington Wizards
Davis Bertans had a good showing for himself on Tuesday, notching 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-for-4 from deep, chipping in three rebounds, one steal and two blocks.
Bertans found his shooting rhythm once again tonight and should be good for a massive end-of-season run. As long as he's healthy, he will be one of the league's best sources of 3-pointers and a sprinkling of peripherals.
January 28, 2020, 11:33 pmMonte MorrisPG, Denver Nuggets
Monte Morris came off the bench for the third straight game but still put up good numbers in 34 minutes including nine points (3-of-8 shooting), five rebounds, six assists, one steal and two 3-pointers vs. the Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Morris is still worth starting in standard leagues while Jamal Murray (left ankle sprain) is out, even if he's coming off the bench. He specializes in assist-to-turnover ratio and has had connected at a high field goal percentage for a guard for most of his career.
January 28, 2020, 11:32 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal did his best to carry the Wizards on Tuesday on the shoulders of his 47-point effort on 13-of-31 shooting, addign six assists, four 3s, one steal and one block.
Beal got outdueled by Khris Middleton, who popped out a career-best 51 points. Still, Beal appears to be churning out big games night in and night out. As long as he's not shut down by his team, Beal is a lock for top-10 value at this rate.
January 28, 2020, 11:29 pmThomas BryantC, Washington Wizards
Thomas Bryant's minute limit was lifted on Tuesday and the big man responded by dropping 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting with 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes.
Bryant was officially back in form tonight and he did so with a vengeance. Remember, Bryant was able to flirt with top-30 value before being sidelined and is now rewarding everyone who gave him the patience he deserved. Expect better and bigger things ROS.
January 28, 2020, 11:24 pmJerami GrantSF, Denver Nuggets
Jerami Grant filled the box score on Tuesday with 21 points (7-of-17 FGs), four rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and six 3-pointers in 38 minutes in a loss to the Grizzlies.
Grant has been a top-60/45 (8-cat/9-cat) player over the last two weeks with Paul Millsap out. Millsap doesn't have a clear return date, so start Grant with confidence for the near future.